Well known encyclopaedia joins the mobile age
Encyclopaedia Britannica, the well-known multi-volume tome, has now been converted to an application for use on both Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The company only stopped publishing the printed version about a month ago because of falling sales.
The app itself, however, is free to download from iTunes, and a number of features will also be free, with access to the full version of the digital encyclopaedia just £1.99 per month. This is very reasonable considering the amount of information one volume alone contains.
The publishers of Encyclopaedia Britannica have had to contend not only with falling sales but also something of an onslaught by Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia. Individual contributors rather than an in-house team often create the latter.
A company spokesperson acknowledging the problem said: “[There are an] increasing number of digital users who seek quality and reliability of information over availability.”
Although citing reliability of information rather than availability as the major reason for switching to digital applications, the reality is printing costs are now horrendous. Not only that, but also many more people are using the internet to access information rather than printed books.
Interestingly, the Encyclopaedia Britannica has actually been available online since the early days of the internet; it has been available since 1994. However, this is the first time the publisher has decided to move over to using mobile apps. It hopes to offer an Android version later in the year.
Ian Grant, Managing Director of Encyclopaedia Britannica UK, said: “The app will significantly add to our existing extensive online and mobile product offerings.”